Friday, September 20, 2019
Appeals court to take up FOSTA lawsuit dismissal; Washington Post suddenly shutters its daily printed commuter express
Attorneys for five plaintiffs (the largest is the Woodhull Foundation in Alexandria, VA) will reissue their suit of the federal government to stop enforcement of FOSTA today, in the DC Circuit Court, trying to overture a dismissal in September 2018 in a lower court on procedural grounds, where a judge ruled the defendants did not face a credible threat of prosecution and had no standing to sue.
Plaintiffs are arguing that the law has caused companies to self-censor (hence the lack of threat of prosecution – circularity) and eliminate some services to customers out of fear of unpredictable liability.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has a press release Sept. 18 (link above).
FOSTA is a very disruptive law that is disrupting the climate that has allowed free speech by users over the years, and is leading to discussions of reducing downstream liability protections (Section 230) in other areas, such as related to radicalization. While that concern has been thought to be related to algorithmic business models based in clickbait, it’s also possible that “free content” contributes to the problem and could become another controversy.
Also, the Washington Post abruptly closed down publishing its print Express for Metro commuters after Sept. 12, resulting in layoffs, as explained in many stories.